Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Danes sentenced to 15 years for illegally trafficking codeine pills

Danes sentenced to 15 years for illegally trafficking codeine pills

Danes sentenced to 15 years for illegally trafficking codeine pills

A Danish woman and her son who mailed codeine tablets to the United States and Canada have been charged with drug trafficking.

THE Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced a Danish woman and her son to 15 years in prison and ordered each to pay 30 million riels (US$7,500) for illegal drug smuggling.

Johanne Vinther Axelsen, 55, was present when the sentence was read, but her son Niels Eikeland, 26, has been absent since the first hearing on January 8.

Outside the courtroom, Axelsen told the Post "it is an unfair trial, as I didn't commit the crime". She added: "I have decided not to pay even one dollar to the corrupt court."

Axelsen was arrested in April last year for attempting to post more than 30,000 codeine pills and pain-killers to the US and Canada.

"I am not a drug smuggler, just a medicine seller," she said.

Prison over bribe

Axelsen is currently being held at the Prey Sar prison, where she says the conditions are inhumane.

"The room I share with 42 women is very narrow and [has] only one toilet, and the prison officials ask for the prisoners to pay 1,500 riel or they will not be allowed to go outside," she said.

"A private Cambodian lawyer [said] if you pay $20,000, you will get released, but I refuse to pay any money to the corrupt court officials, who will use the money to buy a luxury house and car," she added.

Axelsen said her lawyer was seeking intervention from the King or the United Nations, and that her son paid police $7,500 and was released, but she was unsure of his location.

Tom Barthel Hansen, head of the Representative Office of Denmark in Cambodia, told the Post Thursday: "We are trying to find the possibilities to appeal the case. We expected a much smaller sentence based on a talk with her lawyer, so we were surprised to hear the 15-year sentence."

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THOMAS GAM-NIELSEN

MOST VIEWED

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget